You can judge a book by its cover : a brief survey of materials [Jones, Trevor R., 1931-2012]

Bound in natural archive calfskin with paste resist and spirit leather dye craquelle decoration; exposed spine structure with cut-outs displaying various leathers; leather doublures; marbled flyleaves; red and yellow headbands; gilt and gauffered top edges; leather thong closure; in a drop-spine box.

Jones designed and made fine bindings for forty years, since his introduction to the craft by Arthur Johnson of Hornsey College of Art. In 1955, he joined the Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders and was President of Designer Bookbinders from 1983 to 1985. After five years of teaching art and craft in Middlesex schools and twenty-five as a lecturer at St. John’s College, York, he retired from teaching in 1984 to concentrate on making his individually designed bindings. Jones used all the traditional materials of bookbinding, including vellum, goatskin and calf, but occasionally used found and recycled leathers, such as old gloves, shoes, or bags. He also used new or unusual techniques and evolved a variety of methods for working with resists and spirit leather dyes. His diversity of techniques and variety of designs may be attributed to his constant desire to surprise. Jones gave lectures, demonstrations and workshops on his binding design and leather dye techniques and had exhibited widely in Britain and internationally. Some of the places in which you will find his bindings are the British Library; Victoria and Albert Museum; The Keatley Trust Collection of 20th Century British Art; Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead; Royal Library, Copenhagen; Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Lilley Library, Indiana; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; and private collections in the UK and USA. He passed away in 2012.


“Because this is a book about bookbinding, I wanted to contain within this binding’s tiny compass a wider than usual selection of the materials of bookbinding. I have used natural archive calf, Indian buffalo calf, red and yellow goatskin, snake, reptile, and salmon skin, among various other materials. A very early design decision was that the sewing structure would be a prominent feature of the binding. I also intend its design to be illustrative of many of my own recent design motifs, techniques, and obsessions. I have incorporated surrealism, humor, ambiguity, and other concerns of 20th century art. There are many references to my previous bindings, as well as, traditional binding styles. The overall design follows my Candide binding of 1990, with its exposed sewing, structure, calf sides with paste resist and spirit leather dye craquelle decoration, and reference to traditional half-binding spine and corners. The buckram covered book-style box has a padded felt lined compartment for the binding and a gold blocked leather label.”